2008 Best of the Good Life

Everybody wants to live the good life. But how? Well you could start by reading through the results of our third annual “Best Of The Good Life” survey. We asked you to pick your 40 favorites in categories covering the best living and shopping in metro Detroit. Here we present your picks for the area’s best neighborhoods, shops, and places to nap — along with a word from Sir Winston Churchill. Let’s hope it helps


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Best historic neighborhood

By 1920, Detroit was the fourth-largest city in the nation, and its wealthy residents began building homes in the less-populated parts of town. The Boston-Edison Historic District was one such neighborhood. Largely built between 1900-1920, the neighborhood is a 36-block area with 900 houses in architectural styles such as English Revival, Italian Renaissance, and Prairie. Early residents of Boston-Edison included Henry Ford, four of the Fisher brothers, and later Ty Cobb, Joe Louis, and Berry Gordy Jr.

Best place for eco-friendly home goods
Bureau of Urban Living

Eco-friendliness can mean a lot of things. In this case, it means style. Detroit’s Bureau of Urban Living (Detroit; 313-833-9336 or www.bureauliving.com) is 600 square feet of retail revelry in an area unaccustomed to such things. Since opening last year, Bureau has earned a reputation for community involvement and hip, eco-friendly, home goods.

Best place for a bargain
Royal Oak Flea Market

Legend has it someone once stumbled upon a tiny painting by Manet — later auctioned for $3 million — at the Royal Oak Farmers Market (Royal Oak; 248-246-3276). Opened 82 years ago, the market — for the past 30 years — has reserved Sundays for their flea market. Whether you’re searching for carved oak furniture, art, or a metal lunchbox, bargains abound. Be sure to get there early before all the good buys are bought.

The 13 best things to buy at a flea market
1. Antiques
2. Art
3. China
4. Kitchenware
5. Jewelry
6. Bargains   
7. Side tables
8. Tools
9. A watch
10. Quirky stuff
11. Records
12. Furniture
13. Junk

Best place for flowers, flats, shrubs, and trees
Eastern Market

Detroit’s Eastern Market (Detroit; 313-833-9300 or www.detroiteasternmarket.com) has been around since 1891 and is the largest historic public market district in the United States. On Saturdays, it hosts a community of farmers, merchants, restaurants,  and shops, in addition to approximately 26,000 visitors. From farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to peanuts, jazz, and antiques, the market has it all — including your favorite selection of flowers, flats, shrubs, and trees.

For some chronological perspective, here’s a list of people and things that were also born in 1891. 
Zora Neale Hurston, writer
Max Ernst, painter
George Adamski, alleged UFO traveler
Cole Porter, composer
Gregorio Perfecto, Filipino politician
Henry Miller, writer
Man Mountain Dean, professional wrestler
Swiss Army Knife
The Australian Labor Party
The penalty kick

Best place to stock your liquor cabinet / Shop for a dinner party
Holiday Market

Holiday Market (Royal Oak; 248-541-1414) has full-service meat, deli, and bakery departments. But that’s not all. In addition to being a first-rate grocery store since 1954, they’ve got an international cheese counter, wine club, catering service, sushi, 80 different barbecue sauces and marinades, the MirePoix cooking school, and booze, too — lots of it.

A word about Duty Free …
Duty Free is like a nation unto itself. Tariffs, taxes, and fees don’t apply inside the cozy confines of this border-based shoppers’ paradise. And while this international bargain zone may not be the most convenient place to go when stocking your liquor cabinet, enough of you mentioned it to make it a strong runner-up in the category. So congratulations, Duty Free. America loves you.

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